Overcoming Mountains: Celebrating Junko Tabei

During our one year anniversary celebration last September/October, we put out the call to our Facebook community to share with us a fearless female they'd like to see in a crate. This month, we are introducing little ones to the woman who we were introduced to through a Facebook friend. And we could not be more excited for little ones to meet The Independent Mountaineer, Junko Tabei. 

Photo via GognaBlog

Photo via GognaBlog

Never have I ever had any interest in scaling any sort of mountain. It's never been on my radar. The closest I've ever come to mountain climbing is hiking in the mountains and climbing over rocks, but I'm pretty sure that's not at all the same thing. :)  I was fascinated to learn more about this woman who not only climbed Everest, but also each of the seven highest peaks on each of the seven continents. I was not disappointed. Junko Tabei was an incredible woman; one who knew what she wanted to do and moved forward in pursuit of her dreams. 

Junko Tabei grew up in Japan in a poor family and was considered the weakest of the Tabei children. (Pretty interesting given all that she was able to do.)  But in the 4th grade her teacher took her and her class on a mountain climbing field trip. That was it. Junko fell in love with climbing. She said the solitude of the sport and non-competitiveness spoke to her. However, as climbing was an expensive sport and her family didn't have the money. She was able to go on a couple small climbs growing up, but it wasn't until she was in college that she was able to really invest in her love of mountaineering.  

Joining a climbing club in college, Junko was the only female climber.  Sadly, there some of the men in the club refused to climb with her. They thought she wasn't serious about climbing and was using the club to find a husband. She continued to climb with them, but finally decided to start her own club specifically for women. Their motto: "Let's go on an overseas adventure by ourselves." In a culture that maintained that a woman's place was in the home and if she had to work, her place was serving tea at work, this was a big deal. Junko, and the other women, were making a statement of independence. They were essentially saying that women had other interests and desires outside of the home. It was this independent spirit that led Junko to attempt and summit Mount Everest. And she was the first woman to do so. 

Photo via Japan Times

Photo via Japan Times

Junko Tabei helped other women by 'climbing the mountain' of sexism in the sport. She showed that women could not only keep up with the men, but that they could in fact summit the highest peaks in the world. It's for this reason we can't wait to introduce little ones to this independent woman. She was someone whose family considered her weak, someone her culture considered weak, but in reality she was strong and as a result showed the world what women can do. 

This crate will introduce little ones to this fearless lady, the science weather, an art project related to climbing, and a bonus activity. It's going to a fun one! The Independent Mountaineer crate is on sale through March 15th at www.girlscancrate.com